Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Second-round action in the South Region of
the 2013 NCAA Tournament continues on Friday night, as the 10th-seeded
Oklahoma Sooners tangle with the seventh-seeded San Diego State Aztecs at the
Wells Fargo Center.
The winner advances to Sunday's third round to play the survivor of the
Georgetown/Florida Gulf Coast matchup.
Despite bowing out of the Big 12 Conference Tournament in the quarterfinals
with a 73-66 loss to Iowa State, Oklahoma still boasted a strong enough
resume' to earn an at-large bid to the field of 68, going 20-11 overall with
wins over Oklahoma State and Kansas being the most impressive along the way.
Although the Sooners have a rich NCAA Tournament history with 23 appearances
since 1983, this marks the first time in four seasons that they've qualified
for the event.
In a surprisingly strong Mountain West Conference this season, San Diego State
pieced together a solid campaign at 22-10 overall, and despite dropping its
MWC tourney semifinal matchup to eventual-champion New Mexico, it defeated the
Lobos earlier in the season, as well as fellow NCAA Tournament squads Boise
State (twice), Colorado State and UCLA to prove its worth. The Aztecs have
shown great consistency under head coach Steve Fisher, qualifying for the Big
Dance in four straight seasons.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series with SDSU, 3-0, although the teams haven't
played met since 1975.
While the Sooners failed to stick out in the Big 12 with either their scoring
offense (71.1 ppg) or scoring defense (66.2 ppg), a balanced effort at both
ends of the floor, in addition to strong margins in the rebounding (+1.9) and
turnover (+1.5) departments, has assured them of an impressive season. The
catalyst for Oklahoma is Romero Osby, who has had an outstanding senior season
in the paint with 15.8 ppg on 52.2 percent shooting from the field, to pair
with 7.0 rpg and nearly a block per contest. The 6-foot-8 forward is also
clutch at the foul line, making nearly 80 percent of his 191 attempts. Steven
Pledger (11.8 ppg) is the team's resident sniper, shooting 70-of-189 from 3-
point distance (.370), while Amath M'Baye joins Osby in the frontcourt with
10.1 ppg and 5.2 rpg.
Although the Aztecs' offensive attack may not be as potent as Oklahoma's (69.2
ppg, .438 FG percentage), it doesn't need to be considering their stout
defense, and they yield a mere 60.7 ppg to opponents on less than 39 percent
field goal shooting. At the center of SDSU's game plan is Jamaal Franklin, who
is without question one of the most versatile guards in the nation. In
addition to scoring a team-high 16.7 ppg while knocking down more than a 3-
pointer per game, at just 6-foot-5, he is one of the best inch-for-inch
rebounders in the nation (9.5 rpg), and if that wasn't enough he also chips in
3.2 apg, 1.5 spg and 0.8 bpg for good measure. Chase Tapley is a more
traditional perimeter player, scoring 13.5 ppg on 66-of-174 accuracy from
beyond the arc (.379), while Xavier Thames falls just shy of the double-digit
scorers' club (9.8 ppg), mostly due to his poor field goal percentage (.355).
The Sports Network